[su_note note_color=”#f7f7f7″]Note from the editor
A year before I started at El Tecolote, I was on a 49ers practice field in Santa Clara, living the miserable dream of a freelance sports writer. Roughly a dozen of us reporter, wise guys huddled around a then beloved Jim Harbaugh (the soon-to-be former head coach of the aforementioned 49ers) hoping for something good that was worth quoting.
He happily obliged: “I will die leaning on my staff,” Harbaugh said on June 11, 2013, quoting college football analyst Lou Holtz, who had quoted the biblical Abraham. Since taking the job as editor-in-chief at El Tecolote June on 11, 2014, I have—believe it or not—lived by that. We have produced 25 issues this year, including the one you’re holding here, and none of them would’ve been possible without my staff, or team. This 2014 El Tecolote Year in review is for my boss, Georgiana Hernandez, and all the editors and managers—Atticus Morris, Mabel Jimenez, Katie Beas and Johnny Garcia—who have had my back from the start. And to all of the writers, photographers, translators, interns and volunteers: Thanks for making my job easier.
As the force of gentrification continued to reshape San Francisco in 2014, El Tecolote was there to document its effect on residents of the Mission District (the traditional home of the city’s Latino community) and elsewhere.
Google Buses Stop
The first issue of El Tecolote in 2014 shed light on the controversial practice of Silicon Valley firms using public bus stops without authorization to shuttle their employees back and forth between the city and the peninsula in “Locals protest tech bus stops” (Jan. 16-29) by James Christopher.
The monster in La Mision
One of the biggest flashpoints for gentrification in the Mission District was the proposed 1979 Mission development, a massive project by Maximus Real Estate that would demolish the Walgreens and several other small businesses at the 16th and Mission BART plaza to make way for a pair of 10-story condominium towers. El Tecolote ran a series of feature stories covering the hotly contested project, beginning with the “Coalition Protests 16th Street Development” (Feb. 13-26) by James Christopher and continuing with “Looming development project at 16th & Mission sparks controversy” (May 22 – June 4) by Laura Waxmann; “Plaza 16: Examining SF’s housing crisis” (Sept. 25 – Oct. 8) by J.B. Evans; and “The fight for the 16th Street BART Plaza continues” (Oct. 9 – 22) by J.B. Evans. Space was also given to a representative of Maximus to correct via an opinion piece—“Plaza 16 developer makes its case” (Oct. 23 – Nov 5)—what he thought were misconceptions about the project.
One of the most visible symptoms of the rapid gentrification which gripped the city, was the rash of evictions of longtime city residents, which broke out in 2014. Each one of these displaced San Franciscans has a story, and El Tecolote devoted coverage to many of them: “Tenants fight the eviction from their building at 26th & Folsom” (Aug. 28 – Sept. 10) by Samuel Temblador; “Artists brush back against gentrification” (July 31 – Aug. 13) Leslie Nguyen-Okwu; “Teachers push back against their own evictions,” (May 8 – 21) by Sara Bloomberg; “Community protests eviction of teacher” (April 10-23) by Shane Menez; and “Evictions spread to the Bayview” (Jan. 16 – 29) by Felipe Flores.
Another flashpoint in the battle to keep the city affordable, Proposition G was crafted to combat to the tide of evictions—specifically to discourage the practice of speculation known as “house flipping” by levying steep taxes on people who sold real estate within 5 years of purchasing it. El Tecolote published a guest editorial “Ballot measure would help stem tide of evictions” (Oct. 9 – 22) by Causa Justa’s Maria Zamudio in support of the proposition, which ultimately failed. One of Proposition G’s most fierce supporters and ardent contributors was longtime tenants’ rights activist Ted Gullicksen, who died suddenly on Oct. 14. Gullicksen, who was the key architect behind the buyout displacement legislation that was introduced by District 9 Supervisor David Campos and passed on Oct. 21, was eulogized in “Mourn and organize: Remembering SF’s greatest tenant advocate” (Nov. 20 – Dec. 3) by his close friend Tommi Avicolli Mecca, director of counseling programs at San Francisco’s Housing Rights Committee.